In Cana of Galilee there is a small Catholic Church named after its village – Kafr Kana (Hebrew: Village of Cana). A large wedding took place here 2,000 years ago that is remembered every day in this small town with the population of Arab Christians and Muslims. That wedding is recorded in John 2:1-11. Those invited to the Wedding were Jesus and His disciple, and the mother of Jesus was there as well.
Today, the Church of Cana is an active community of families that have been worshipping at this Church for many generations. They are proud to tell visitors about their love for Christ and His mother, Mary.
The Church is built over the ancient ruins of the “wedding house” we read about in the Gospel of John. Pilgrim groups are welcome to pray in the church and couples who have received the Sacrament of Matrimony are so happy to be able to renew their wedding vows. Imagine, renewing your wedding vows with your spouse in the very place where Jesus blessed the young couple with His Presence, and provided the “good wine” for their celebration!
Tom and I have lead numerous pilgrim groups to the Holy Land and arranged for the couples in our groups to have this opportunity to renew their vows to one another in this holy place. We also join the pilgrims, and each time it is a moment of grace as we remember the very first day we looked into each other’s eyes and committed ourselves to one another in marriage. Parishioners also offer us “Cana Wine” – a sweet wine to celebrate!
Thirty six years ago, on November 25th, we entered the Sacrament of Matrimony with Christ. We were married the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. We often comment on how we thank God for finding each other.
The Sacrament of Marriage is so important that the Church says that the love of the husband and wife for each other should reflect the love that Christ has for His Church.
Marriage is God’s gift to us, and it is our primary vocation which must be protected. Outside of our salvation, we have no greater task than to protect our marriage, which may be God’s means to heal us and others on the way to eternal life.
Each is responsible for the salvation of the other; we can help each other get to Heaven.
It is especially in our marriage that we live out the two greatest Commandments as we read in Mark 12:28-31:
One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If we do not love God above everything else, we will never reach our potential in loving our spouse or our children. That is by God’s design. If you are faithful to God, you will be faithful to each other and grow spiritually!